Thursday, February 18, 2016

Someone Turns Sixty- Feb. 18

Yes, I have a cousin who turns sixty years old today.  She was born just before I turned eleven and that event is one of my happiest childhood memories.

We were in Des Moines visiting my aunt and uncle for the week-end. There were 5 tickets waiting to be used to attend a country-western concert starring Hank Snow and Marvin Rainwater on Sunday. My parents, my aunt and uncle, and I were all looking forward to the big event.  My new baby cousin, however, interrupted the week-end. As a ten and almost eleven year old, I felt so sorry for my aunt who didn't get to attend the concert because she was in the hospital with my new baby cousin, who by the way, was supposed to be born on my birthday three days later.  Of course, we have a great aunt who was thrilled to share her birthday with the new baby. After all, almost eleven years before that Aunt Neva was hoping I would be her birthday buddy.  But, I was born on my uncle's birthday (the new father). February was a big birthday month for our family.  And not to be outdone, my sixty year old baby cousin shares her birthday with her first grandchild.

Back to the story.

I remember my mom and aunt sitting in the dining room talking quietly so I could not hear. Suddenly, it was decided that it was time for the expectant parents to leave for the hospital. Even though it was a fast delivery, it seemed forever for my uncle to return with the news. (Telephones had been invented by then :-) I wonder why he didn't call. This is a thought I have never had before. I think it is just sign of the times in the 50"s. It probably cost money as well).

I heard the car pull into the driveway and rushed to the kitchen entry door. I clearly remember standing by the sink shouting, "What is it? What is it?" He calmly replied that it was an octopus. I was not happy with this joke. The few seconds it took him to be funny were the few seconds I was still untold that I had a baby girl cousin.

The baby girl was named for my mother and her mother. My first name and my baby girl cousin's middle name are the same. I spent my whole life thinking she had been named for both my mom and me. As an adult, I finally accepted that her middle name might have had a connection to her own mother.

Sixty years have gone by. Our grandparents are gone. Our parents are gone. Our grand birthday celebrations have changed but still exist only in different forms. Our memories endure.

Happy Birthday, Mary. I love you, baby cousin.

August 1957

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